Today (15th June), an item was posted on bristolpress.com titled ‘”Cruel and archaic”: Animal rights groups to protest Cole Bros. Circus’.
‘… BRISTOL — Animal rights activists in the community are gearing up to protest at the Cole Bros. Circus that’s coming to town at month’s end.
Calling the circus “cruel and archaic” for its use of wild animals as performing acts, the protesters hope to sway people to stay home rather than join the crowds under the Big Top for four shows June 30 and July 1 at a Depot Square site.
“I don’t intend to change the world, but if even one person turns around, I’ll be happy,” said Kelly Fisk, who is organizing the protest through a network of friends on Facebook.
At least 34 people have indicated on Facebook they plan to attend the protest and another two dozen claimed they might join in. Most are from Bristol.
Fisk said Friday that she felt an obligation as the mother of an 8-year-old daughter to organize circus critics because she is “always looking for ways to demonstrate kindness and empathy.”
She said she can’t bear to stand aside while a business that “profits from the suffering of other creatures” comes to town.
The circus, a traditional one that includes such animals as tigers and elephants, is slated to hold two shows a day June 30 and July 1 on a yet-to-be-determined section of the former mall site downtown.
Cole Brothers has defended its treatment of animals, insisting that it has more interest than anyone in making sure the beasts are safe, healthy and happy.
Gary Payne, eastern vice president of the Circus Fans Association of America, said allegations raised against the circus are untrue.
“Nobody loves animals more than show folks,” said Payne, a Waterbury resident.
Tim Orris, a senior booking agent for the circus, said it costs $250,000 to train an elephant. With that much money at stake, he said, “would you abuse it?”
But Fisk said that animals with the circus are hauled around 11 months of the year, often in small cages and in poor conditions.
Imagine, she said, getting moved from “one hot, open parking lot to another” for years on end.
Fisk said wild animals in particular deserve better.
A beekeeper who raises chickens in her back yard, Fisk said she’s not an animal rights purist, but she knows when something’s wrong.
“We have a real chance to make our voices heard,” she said, and to try to show neighbors and others why they should give the circus a cold shoulder.
Two of the city’s six city councilors opposed letting the circus use municipal property — Henri Martin and Derek Czenczelewski — but the majority said residents ought to be free to attend or not as they chose.
Fisk said the two councilors who stood in opposition deserve praise for standing up for the kind of community Bristol should aspire to be.
She said there are more than 40 different circuses in the country that don’t have any animals. It’s time for the traditional menagerie, she said, to vanish.
“It’s disappointing to me that people hang on to the nostalgia of this,” Fisk said …’
Read the item in full and add your comment online at www.bristolpress.com/articles/2012/06/15/news/doc4fdbe436e90bc480598908.txt